As recruiters, we’ve hired for hundreds roles at all levels of the technology sector. Even at the application stage, it’s clear that the lack of diversity in tech is a problem and this is holding it back.

What’s the problem?

From the annoying – getting misgendered on Google translate, to the life threatening – racial bias in self driving cars, a lack of diversity increases the likelihood of product failures. And as we, businesses and individuals, become increasingly reliant on technology  – it’s critical that we address it now to stop these costly mistakes from reoccurring in the future.

These errors occur because teams of people who look alike and have similar life experiences have blinkers on. They’re limited by their own experience. Diverse teams bring true diversity of thought. These teams are better equipped to build inclusive tech.

Only recently it was revealed UK passport photo checkers show bias against dark-skinned women.  AI systems, like the passport checkers, depend on the diversity of the data they are trained on. If developers neglect to include training datasets with good representation of women of colour, then the technology isn’t going to work for them. If the teams building this tech had better BAME representation, these issues are likely to have been flagged up long before the system was launched.

The Algorithmic Justice League is a movement towards equitable and accountable AI. In response to the UK’s passport debacle, researcher  Inioluwa Deborah Raj commented, “This just adds to the increasing pile of products that aren’t built for people of colour and especially darker-skinned women. If a system doesn’t work for everyone, it doesn’t work”. 

So, what are you doing?

We agree. And we believe these issues are why we need to support minority groups get into tech. As a business, we’re going to be looking inwardly to see what we can do to support diversity in our sector. From evaluating how we write job descriptions, to championing female, BAME and neurodiverse role models and mentors, we want to embrace and share best practice to diversify global tech talent for more inclusive products and services.

This is why we’ve signed up to the Tech Talent Charter and if you’re a business, we invite you to do the same! The Tech Talent Charter  (TTC) is a non-profit organisation leading a movement to address inequality by driving inclusion and diversity in a practical and uniquely measurable way.

‘If you can see it you can be it’ might seem like a chintzy slogan but it’s proven to hold some weight. Diversity in Tech sites that one of the biggest barriers to women entering the sector is a lack of female role models, second only to a lack of mentors – who can come in all shapes and sizes. 

If you’re not moved by the plight of your employees or the validity of your products, then look from a financial perspective. McKinsey found that companies with the most ethnically/ culturally diverse boards worldwide are 43% more likely to experience higher profits. Diversity benefits everyone. 

What can I do about it?

Collectively then, we need to ensure diverse candidates aren’t excluded from the boardroom. This means supporting them to get into the industry in the first place.

If  you can support local programmes like these, great. If you’re a role model and you feel comfortable, be seen. If you have digital skills that you can share, step up and be a mentor. If you can reassess how your business operates to foster a more inclusive workplace culture, then do it.

You’re in good company – because we are!

 

Are you looking for a job in tech? Our partners are committed to building inclusive workspaces that foster innovation. Sign up with our online form and we’ll be in touch if we have a role that’s a good fit for your skills and experience.

 

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